March 20, 2021

News, products, marketing and merchandising tips for the
front end of community pharmacies

* Gabe's Tips: *

About Face

Everyone knows that having one each on a shelf sends a bad message to the consumer. Messages like, "We can't afford more than one," "You are taking last one," "We may be going out of business soon." But did you know that having eight of one thing can send the same messages! I recently saw a photo of an endcap with eight bottles of the same supplement spread out on a shelf, eight "faces" one deep. Even from a short distance, the shelf looked empty. When spacing product to fill an endcap, you need to go no less than two deep. A "face" is when an item is positioned to the front edge of a shelf with its front facing outward. 3 facings = 3 across the front of the shelf, with the additional stock behind in three rows.

More messages to avoid

An empty shelf, no matter if it is a bottom/base shelf, also sends a wrong message. An endcap photo sent to me had many good things going for it until I saw a completely empty bottom shelf. There are three different ways of filling an empty shelf. 1. If you have enough product, you can duplicate the 2nd from the bottom shelf onto the bottom shelf. 2. Use a solid color wrap to cover empty boxes of the same size and place them on the bottom shelf. Replace the boxes with product when possible. (Keep the boxes; you will use them again.) 3. Place a sign at the bottom. Click here for examples.

Make the time

After noticing that a good deal of supplements in a store were not priced, I was shocked by what the owner had to say. "Our customers don't mind asking what the price is for an item." What the owner meant was, "We have some customers who don't mind asking what the price is, and I have no idea how many do mind and never buy the item." This sounds like a no-brainer, but everyone needs to find time to put a price sticker on the product or a shelf tag listing the retail no matter how busy everyone is.

Vitamin Relocation

The month of April is when merchandisers are asked to update the vitamin section. Before you do that, ask yourself if it is time to relocate it. If you are filling at least 150 scripts a day, there is a good chance that customers anxious and short on time maybe standing in front of the supplement section blocking potential sales. If this happens to you or your store, consider repositioning the supplements adjacent to the cough and cold section. The cough & cold section is the most shopped category that stores have. The cough & cold section would make a great neighbor to vitamins. To make room for the move, place your Digestive section in front of the RX counter. More about vitamins on Saturday, April 2nd.

Catch up on how to convert COVID-19 customers to permanent ones

Stores that are administrating COVID-19 vaccines see a growing number of new faces, representing potential new customers. All of these potential customers will be either staring at a clock for 15 minutes or playing with their phones. How about giving them something to read or see to entice them to become your customers? Watch Bri Moris, pharmacist & NCPA's Senior Director, Program Development, and myself in our recently recorded webinar on quick, easy ways to market to a captive audience!

Front End Resources for NCPA Members

Being a member of NCPA means you have access to a treasure trove of helpful hints, tips, and resources to make your front end more profitable! Download One-Pager Tips on a variety of topics. Gabe typically posts a tip once or twice a day on his Twitter account — if you're on Twitter, give him a follow at @NCPAGabe. You can also find tips in Gabe's monthly column in America's Pharmacist. The Overhaul of Fame galleries contain hundreds of photos to inspire you, from effective signs to successful end-caps and everything in between. Finally, you and your staff can access several staff training videos that will help you take an objective view of your store, both inside and out!

This wealth of knowledge is due to the fantastic photos, ideas, and suggestions we receive every day from NCPA members like you. Drop him a line at with your questions, photos, best advice, and recommendations. What's selling well in your store? Let us know.

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